Political Ideologies

An introduction, fifth edition

by Andrew Heywood

Chapter questions

Download the chapter questions below.

Chapter 1: Ideology and ideologies

  • Are ‘practical men’ really the slaves of ‘academic scribblers’ (Keynes)?
  • How does the Marxist concept of ideology differ from the mainstream concept?
  • Is ideology necessarily false? If so, why?
  • Can ‘socially unattached’ intellectuals rise above ideology?
  • Are all sets of political ideas ideologies, or only some?
  • To what extent do ideologies differ in terms of their conceptual structure?
  • What is new about the ‘new’ ideologies?
  • To what extent has ideological commitment become a life-style choice?
  • Does the rise of ‘new’ ideologies mean that the old ones are now defunct?
  • How does an ideology differ from a philosophy?

Chapter 2: Liberalism

  • Why do liberals reject unlimited freedom?
  • How convincing is the liberal notion that human being are reason-guided creatures?
  • Which forms of equality of liberals support, and which do they reject?
  • Why do liberals believe that power tends to corrupt, and how do they think it can be ‘tamed’?
  • Is liberal democracy a contradiction in terms?
  • How do classical liberals defend unregulated capitalism?
  • How far are modern liberals willing to go in endorsing social and economic intervention?
  • Do modern liberals have a coherent view of the state?
  • Is liberal democracy the final solution to the problem of political organisation?
  • To what extent is cosmopolitanism based on liberal assumptions?

Chapter 3: Conservatism

  • Why, and to what extent, have conservatives supported tradition?
  • Is conservatism a ‘disposition’ rather than a political ideology?
  • Why has conservatism been described as a philosophy of imperfection?
  • How does the conservative view of property differ from the liberal view?
  • How far do conservatives go in endorsing authority?
  • Is conservatism merely ruling class ideology?
  • To what extent do conservatives favour pragmatism over principle?
  • How and why have supporters of the new right criticized welfare?
  • To what extent are neoliberalism and neo-conservatism compatible?
  • Why and how have conservatives sought to resist globalization?

Chapter 4: Socialism

  • What is distinctive about the socialist view of equality?
  • Why do socialists favour collectivism, and how have they tried to promote it?
  • What are the implications of trying to achieve socialism through revolutionary means?
  • What are the implications of trying to achieve socialism through democratic means?
  • On what grounds have Marxists predicted the inevitable collapse of capitalism?
  • How closely did orthodox communism reflect the classical idea of Marx?
  • To what extent is socialism defined by its rejection of capitalism?
  • Is social democracy really a form of socialism?
  • Was the socio-democratic ‘compromise’ inherently unstable?
  • Can there be a ‘third way’ between capitalism and socialism?

Chapter 5: Anarchism

  • Why do anarchists view the state as evil and oppressive?
  • How and why is anarchism linked to utopianism?
  • How convincing is the anarchist theory of human nature?
  • Is collectivist anarchism simply an extreme form of socialism?
  • How do anarcho-communists and Marxists agree, and over what do they disagree?
  • How do individualist anarchists reconcile egoism and statelessness?
  • Is anarcho-individualism merely free-market liberalism taken to its logical conclusion?
  • To what extent do anarchists disagree about the nature of the future anarchist society?
  • Why have anarchist ideas been attractive to modern social movements?
  • Do anarchists demand the impossible?

Chapter 6: Nationalism

  • Do nations develop ‘naturally’, or are they, in some sense, invented?
  • Why have nations and states often been confused?
  • How does nationalism differ from racialism?
  • In what sense is liberal nationalism principled?
  • Why have liberals viewed nationalism as the antidote to war?
  • Are all conservatives nationalists? If so, why?
  • Why has nationalism so often been associated with expansionism, conquest and war?
  • To what extent is nationalism a backward-looking ideology?
  • Why and how has developing-world nationalism differed from nationalism in the developed world?
  • Has globalization made nationalism irrelevant?

Chapter 7: Fascism

  • Was fascism merely a product of the specific historical circumstances of the inter-war period?
  • How has anti-rationalism shaped fascist ideology?
  • Why do fascists value struggle and war?
  • How can the fascist leader principle be viewed as a form of democracy?
  • Is fascism simply an extreme form of nationalism?
  • In what sense is fascism a revolutionary creed?
  • To what extent can fascism be viewed as a blend of nationalism and socialism?
  • How and why is fascism linked to totalitarianism?
  • Are all fascists racialists, or only some?
  • Is fascism dead?

Chapter 8: Feminism

  • Why and how have feminists challenged conventional notions of politics?
  • Why has the distinction between sex and gender been so important to feminist analysis?
  • What role does patriarchy play in feminist theory?
  • Why do some feminists reject the goal of gender equality?
  • To what extent is feminism compatible with liberalism?
  • In what sense is radical feminism revolutionary?
  • Is socialist feminism a contradiction in terms?
  • Are the differences within feminism greater than the similarities?
  • Have the core liberal, socialist and radical feminist traditions been exhausted?
  • To what extent can feminism engage with the politics of difference?

Chapter 9: Ecologism

  • How does an eco-centric perspective challenge conventional approaches to politics?
  • Is ‘enlightened’ anthropocentrism a contradiction in terms?
  • Why have ecologists been ambivalent about science?
  • What are the features of a sustainable economy?
  • How has green politics extended conventional moral thinking?
  • Why and how have ecologists rethought the nature of human fulfilment?
  • Which political ideologies are most compatible with ecologism, and why?
  • To what extent can the goals of ecologism be only achieved through radical social change?
  • Does deep ecology constitute the philosophical core of green political thought?
  • Can green politics ever be electorally and politically viable?

Chapter 10: Religious fundamentalism

  • Do all political ideologies harbour fundamentalist tendencies?
  • Is secularism anti-religious?
  • Is the rise of religious fundamentalism evidence of a ‘clash of civilizations’?
  • Is religious fundamentalism necessarily based on a belief in the literal truth of sacred texts?
  • Are religious fundamentalists always anti-modern?
  • Is fundamentalism implicitly totalitarian and prone to violence?
  • To what extent is Islamic fundamentalism a form of anti-westernism?
  • Is religious fundamentalism compatible with constitutionalism and political pluralism?
  • What is the relationship between religious fundamentalism and ethnic nationalism?
  • Does religious fundamentalism have a future?

Chapter 11: Multiculturalism

  • How and why is multiculturalism linked to the politics of recognition?
  • Is multiculturalism a form of communitarianism?
  • What is the justification for minority or multicultural rights?
  • Is multiculturalism compatible with the idea of individual rights?
  • Why do multiculturalists believe that diversity provides the basis for a politically stable society?
  • Why have liberals supported diversity, and when do they believe that diversity is ‘excessive’?
  • How does pluralism go ‘beyond’ liberalism?
  • Are western cultures tainted by the inheritance of colonialism and racialism?
  • Can multiculturalism be reconciled with any form of nationalism?
  • Could multiculturalism lead to cosmopolitanism?
  • Sample list item. Press return to create a new list item.

Conclusion: A post-ideological age?

  • What were the flaws of the ‘end of ideology’ thesis?
  • Why have ‘end of history’ theorists viewed liberal democracy as the final solution to the problem of governance?
  • Could history ever come to an end?
  • Why have postmodernists proclaimed the death of ‘metanarratives’?
  • Is the left/right divide now redundant?
  • Can science be thought of as an ideological tradition?
  • Is ideology a help or hindrance to a political party?
  • Can politics exist without ideology?
  • Does ideology enlighten or delude?